Friday, April 5, 2013

Healthified Carrot Cake

Is healthified a word??  I hope so.  We can pretend right?

My grandmother's favorite (or one of her favorite) desserts is carrot cake.  Since the fam visited near Easter I thought it was the perfect dessert choice to have while they were here visiting!  I found a recipe that looked interesting because it used canned crushed pineapple in place of oil.  It proved successful, if you like the tartness of pineapple--which I do!!  

You will start by shredding 2 cups worth of carrots.  If you are smart, you will buy them already shredded.  This step took the longest of them all and was so monotonous!  

Next, mix all of the dry ingredients.  3/4 cup all purpose flour, 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, and 2 tsp ground cinnamon  .  

Now, you will mix the eggs (2), 2Tbsp canola oil, and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla together.

Once well combined, mix the wet ingredients and dry ingredients together until a thick, doughy mixture forms

Stir in the 2 cups grated carrots.

Stir until everything is well blended.  The mixture will be thick and doughy now.

Finally, add 1 20 oz can crushed (drained) pineapple and stir until well combined.

I baked a sheet cake, but you could choose a 9x13 cake pan or 2 8" round cake pans as well.  I baked at 350 for 20 minutes.  Baking times will vary depending on the pan you choose though.

For the cream cheese frosting, blend 1 8 oz pack cream cheese (NOT fat free!!!) and 1 cup powdered sugar.  Stir in 1-2 tsp vanilla to taste. 

I went a little out of my comfort zone and even decorated this cake.  These people really don't know how lucky they were-ha!  I used Betty Crocker orange and green icing to pipe on a carrot design.

I drew the design in the icing with a knife instead of trying to free-hand draw with the icing.  I am not nearly talented enough to free-hand!  I had to re-do the image a few times until it was good enough to at least maybe kinda resemble a carrot!

I further accessorized with some walnuts around the edges of the cake to fancy it up just a bit more--whoah 


This cake was a big hit and rings in right around 200 calories a slice if you cut 16 slices.  Not bad for an indulgent treat  ;)  We took the leftovers back to Alabama with us and that is where they stayed.  Heaven knows these hips don't need it!

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Breakfast Casserole

Well my company is gone, I have traveled home and back, and this week is halfway over already--say what?!  I can't believe it.  Work seems to be busier by the day so the days are going so quickly!

One week ago at this very moment I was frantically finishing up some meal prep and house cleaning before my mom, grandmother and sister arrived.  They made it here about 730 last Wednesday night.  They were about an hour and a half off schedule because my mom missed a turn on the way here.  Nevertheless, they made it in one piece (or rather, 3!)  It was so exciting to have a house full of people!!  So exciting in fact that (as previously mentioned here) I couldn't even sleep Wednesday night!  haha.  I worked half of a day on Thursday then we set out for adventure.  We headed out to the Chickamauga Battlefield for an interesting blast into the past and afternoon Civil War lesson.  We started with a 25 minute video describing the various battles in the Chickamauga/Chattanooga area, and then we were able to drive through the battlefield stopping at various points for interesting facts.  At one point, we climbed a tower that reminded me of Rapunzel's and was 136 steps to the top!! Even Maire was panting when we reached the top.

Friday, we started the day in Chickamauga at some cute gift shops and boutiques.  We all had some great finds.  Grandma Dodie found a sugar and creamer set that was the fine China that her mother (my great grandma Ann) had picked out when she was married.  Dodie was so excited to find it (that woman loves some dishes/China!) that she splurged ans bought the set as her souvenir from the trip.  Mom found some great gifts for the Easter bunny to deliver  ;).  Afterwards, we picnicked at Coolidge Park in downtown Chattanooga and then we drove up, around, and back down Lookout Mountain.

Maire playing on the stone animals in the fountain.  Too bad it wasn't summer!!

It was coooold and windy at the top of Lookout Mountain!!

Saturday, we all showered and prepared for the 5 hour drive back to Alabama.  We were all so excited to make it home because daddy had just brought home two new bird dog pups on Thursday.  One of our females was bred and delivered the pups but sadly passed away during delivery.  Tab was a special dog to my daddy because she was a gift form my granddad.  Long story short, my dad is treating these precious babies like royalty and I think his love for Tab is the reason why.  These puppies get milk in their dog food AND are sleeping inside--they don't even know how lucky they are!  He has decided to name the pups Judy and Kate.  I have no idea where he gets this stuff!

Now, on to more important things.  like food.  specifically, breakfast casserole-mmm!!

You'll want to start with a roll of sausage.  I chose hot sausage, but if you prefer mild that would work too.  Since the sausage is ground and broken up though, the spiciness is definitely tolerable and not overbearing in this dish.  Brown the sausage and scramble until there is no more pink and drain the grease from the pan.  I let the sausage cool on a plate covered with a paper towel to soak up additional grease as well.

Break 7 large eggs into a mixing bowl and then break the yolks/scramble them with a fork or whisk.

Add plenty of salt and pepper to taste.

Add a whole 32 ounce bag frozen hash browns.  I used southern style diced.

Add the (cooled) browned sausage to the eggs and hash browns and throw in a large handful-1-1/2 cups-mozzarella cheese.  I also added about 1/2 cup 2% milk for extra creaminess.  I let this casserole sit overnight before baking it.  The hash browns will soak up a good bit of liquid if you do this so I especially recommend the milk if you are making this ahead of time!

Grease a 13x9 baking pan well and dump egg/sausage/cheese/hash brown mixture into pan.  Sprinkle with extra mozzarella if desired (of course!).  I wrapped the pan in tinfoil and refrigerated overnight.  The next morning while I was getting ready for work, I popped this guy in a 350 degree oven for about 35-40 minutes (until eggs were fully cooked and hardly jiggly).  I sampled a bite for breakfast and then left the rest for my company to enjoy while I was slaving away at work all morning.  From what I heard, they thoroughly enjoyed it.  And I know you will too!!  :)